Here is a great article from BookBaby. Enjoy.
A couple of Saturdays ago in the concrete basement of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, I witnessed the future for our BookBaby authors. And it looks mighty bright.
This vision came to me while sitting behind BookBaby’s table during the annual uPublishU event, a how-to conference for writers, both striving and thriving. It’s held in conjunction with the gigantic Book Expo America in New York City. Upstairs the usual book people strolled through acres of BEA exhibits on the main convention floor during the last day of the show. Meanwhile I was downstairs in the basement bunker with 800+ writers and exhibitors enjoying lectures and discussions by a who’s who of self publishing. I even moderated a panel featuring indie author superstar Hugh Howey that explored both traditional and self publishing paths.
BookBaby was one of about 20 self publishing organizations or companies attending uPublishU to meet these very entrepreneurial authors. Sitting behind our tables, lined up between huge meeting rooms on each side of the hall, we would chat with the attendees in the precious few minutes between sessions.
This year, however, we didn’t have the place to ourselves. BEA organizers scheduled uPubishU in some of the same space being occupied by a new show called BookCon. Like the other hugely popular ‘Con events (think ComicCon) this new feature of BEA was filled with characters of all ages, nationalities, and interests – all with a passion for their favorite books or authors.
The throngs came to see literary superstars of old (John Grisham) and new (John Green, the author of The Fault In Our Stars). They came to see popular authors such as James Patterson, Carl Hiaasen, RL Stine, and Jeff Kinney. Among the non-lit crowd were HBO Girls’ star Lena Dunham, comic super creator Stan Lee, and celebrity chef Mario Batali. TV was well represented by Tina Fey, Amy Pohler and Jason Bateman. Just across from the BookBaby table, a slightly older Dread Pirate Roberts himself, Cary Elwes, entertained an overflow crowd with snippets from his upcoming book about the making of Princess Bride. Also holding court: Grumpy Cat.
I even shot a quick video of the masses from my table:
Brien McDonald, who curated the Con, told a journalist that “BookCon is where literature and pop culture collide.” That wasn’t the only collision of note. Many of our fellow exhibitors in the uPubishU space were getting visibly upset at the overflow crowds of fans getting in the way of doing business. The show manager went up and down the line of tables, apologizing to the people at the Smashwords, Archway Press, and Vook tables among others.
They saw the thousands milling about our shared space as a nuisance or distraction. Here’s what I saw: Readers. Thousands of them. People who read, love and – most importantly – buy books!
Maybe someday one of our BookBaby authors will be the celebrity they’re lining up to see! But even if they don’t end up on the same bill as Grumpy Cat, the enthusiastic crowds that milled around our table is proof that reading is alive and well. Our BookBaby community, along with the thousands of other first-time published authors, have a virtually unlimited readership to entertain and enthrall in the years ahead.
If BEA is for the book people, then BookCon is for the book lover. And they love them enough to take the time to drive, fly, bus, train, cab or stroll to this concrete monolith in midtown Manhattan to rub shoulders with their heroes and heroines. This new ‘Con is the real thing.
Steven Spatz is the Chief Marketing Officer for BookBaby.com, but always wanted to be managing editor of a large metro newspaper. After a brief fun-filled, yet cash-short career in sports writing, Spatz joined his family’s direct marketing business, Pinnacle Orchards, which would eventually become one of the biggest food catalog businesses in the world.
After selling the business, he’s worked management roles in direct-to-consumer marketing for